Ingolstadt/Hockenheim, October 16, 2010
The brand that has been the first and only one in DTM history to win three consecutive titles handled the extremely difficult conditions in qualifying for the German finale of the 2010 DTM best: Timo Scheider clinched the pole position for Audi on the shortened Hockenheimring on a track that was wet from rain. His brand colleague Mike Rockenfeller will start from the first row too on Sunday (starting at 1:45 p.m. – local time – live on “Das Erste”) with his 2008-spec A4 DTM. With seven Audi A4 DTM cars on the top nine grid positions, the brand with the four rings is in an outstanding position for the race.
Timo Scheider, who had won the DTM title twice in a row at Hockenheim, in 2008 and 2009, managed a perfect lap at the crucial moment of the rainy qualifying: after achieving third, first and fourth places in the first three qualifying segments, the two-time DTM Champion in Q4 commandingly secured his ninth pole position in the DTM in total with an advantage of almost half a second. “Being the quickest in the rain is always particularly nice,” said the driver from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. “And Hockenheim still has a very special meaning for me. Sitting on the pole position in an Audi in front of a home audience of fans at the German finale is a fantastic feeling.”
Mike Rockenfeller, who had delivered a remarkable performance as early as in the morning by setting a fastest time in free practice, was similarly pleased. In qualifying the Le Mans winner again made a strong showing: he was the fastest driver in Q1 and Q3, third in Q2 and ultimately second in the crucial shoot-out for the top grid positions. As a result, “Rocky” will start from the front row for the second time in his DTM career.
With Alexandre Prémat Audi Sport Team Phoenix managed to put both cars into the decisive qualifying segment for the first time. Although Prémat did not achieve a perfect lap, grid position four meant the best qualifying result of the year for the Frenchman.
Behind Martin Tomczyk, who finished in sixth place, Markus Winkelhock from Audi Sport Team Rosberg with a seventh-place finish at his home round managed the leap into the top ten for the first time in what has so far been a very unfortunate season for him. Miguel Molina and Oliver Jarvis on positions eight and nine completed the impressive performance of the Audi squad.
“We’re on the pole position for as much as the fifth consecutive time in this race now,” said a highly pleased Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “This clearly demonstrates the qualities of the Audi A4 DTM. With seven cars on the top nine grid positions we have a good starting base for achieving the victory at the German finale we’re aiming for, even though different conditions have been predicted for tomorrow. Due to the different track layout good grid positions here at Hockenheim are more important than ever.”
However, Audi’s hopes of postponing the title decision were dampened on Saturday: Mattias Ekström, of all drivers, who is the only Audi racer to still have theoretical chances of winning the title, did not manage an optimal qualifying. The Swede was complaining about extreme oversteer that could not be corrected even by an unscheduled tyre change. As a result, the two-time DTM Champion, who had never achieved less than a sixth place in qualifying this year, was surprisingly eliminated as early as in Q1 and will have to start into the race on Sunday from an untypical 15th place. Alongside Ekström, Katherine Legge will be on row eight as the quickest lady in the field.
Quotes after qualifying at Hockenheim
Ingolstadt/Hockenheim, October 16, 2010 – Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller will start from the front row at the German finale of the DTM at the Hockenheimring on Sunday. Martin Tomczyk was moved back from sixth to eleventh place of the grid due to a violation of the rules in free practice. Quotes from the Audi camp after qualifying.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport)
“The track conditions in qualifying were very difficult. In general, we showed a strong team performance. That three Audi cars finished among the top four was a good beginning. Timo (Scheider) performed the magic of achieving a perfect lap. ‘Rocky’ managed a very good lap as well. We’ve got two cars on the front row. We need to convert this into a good race result on Sunday.”
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #1), grid position 1
“I’m overjoyed, especially after Oschersleben where we lost a possible victory due to a foreign object in the tyre. It’s nice to come back after such a race and not to fall into a psychological hole. We were able to show the same performance again, albeit in wet conditions today. And, of all places, in Germany at the ‘small finale’ because here at Hockenheim I’ve experienced most of the emotions in the DTM. That’s why it feels extremely good to have shown this here again today.”
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #10), grid position 2
“The car was superb to drive as early as in free practice. In qualifying I was missing a little of the grip I had in the morning. Still, I made it all the way into Q4. When I saw Timo’s (Scheider) lap I knew that it would be difficult for me. On the whole, I’m extremely pleased. I want to thank the team that put a great car on the track for me. I was able to convert that. It’s nice that Alexandre (Prémat) made it into Q4 too. We had a good day today, and the weather no doubt helped as well. Now we’ll try and drive a good race.”
Alexandre Prémat (TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #9), grid position 4
“A nice qualifying! I made it into Q4 and am extremely pleased. This is the best result of the year and I’m in Q4 for the first time. Now we’ve got to fully concentrate on the race in order to score many points. ‘Thank you’ to Team Phoenix that has been doing a really fantastic job since the beginning of the event. I’m very pleased with our team performance because Mike (Rockenfeller) is second, I’m fourth. On Sunday a podium result should be possible.”
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy/GW:plus Audi A4 DTM #14), grid position 6
“Being on position six isn’t bad, but a better result would have been possible. On my last lap I had to overtake Alex Prémat. I turned in a little earlier and spun in the process. I think I could have definitely improved my time. I already had an advantage of three tenths before the Sachs-Kurve. That could have been enough for Q4.”
Miguel Molina (Audi Bank A4 DTM #18), grid position 7
“This was a difficult qualifying because it was my first one in the DTM in rain. I’m among the top eight again. But on my last lap I made a mistake – I’ve got to improve some more.”
Oliver Jarvis (Tabac Original Audi A4 DTM #2), grid position 8
“I’m very disappointed. We were basically quick enough to make it at least into Q3, perhaps even into the top five. But I was the first to cross the finish line. That deprived us of our chances because we had one lap less. In the end, we were lacking half a tenth.”
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Cola Audi A4 DTM #6), grid position 11
“I’m not completely happy. Our plan had been to drive one lap to cool down the tyres and to have one flying lap left to squeeze out the optimum. Ultimately, it turned out to be two flying laps at the end. That meant that the optimum was split between both laps and, as a result, we were short of one or two tenths.”
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5), grid position 15
“I can’t remember the last time I was eliminated in Q1. It’s got to be a very long time ago. But I had no grip whatsoever and was simply not able to fight with this car. I was just skidding. A strange and disappointing feeling. It’ll be difficult to move forward from so far at the rear.”
Katherine Legge (Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15), grid position 16
“I’m disappointed because things were going very well in the rain in the morning. I’d have thought that we’d make it into the top twelve. But unfortunately I made a small mistake on my last lap which prevented me from making it into Q2. We don’t know yet what to expect for tomorrow. It could be wet, but it could also be dry.”
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
“The team did a superb job and Timo Scheider delivered a brilliant performance. He showed an incredible lap and got everything right. That’s simply his mark of excellence. He’s in really good shape again at the moment. The situation is very close in the DTM. You’ve got to work hard, but you also need a little bit of fortune. What happens if you’re not fortunate was obvious with Mattias Ekström today.”
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
“When you’ve got both cars in the top four you’ve simply got to be pleased. To manage a good lap, everything’s got to fit. And in that case you may stretch the limits sometimes like Alex (Prémat) did. In these weather conditions such things are forgivable. If you advance so far, through all four qualifying sessions, you did everything right each time. The guys were always out at exactly the right time. The crew was good too. Our drivers were always able to set the time on the first two laps. That was the key to success. I’m proud of the team and the drivers. We’ll make the very best out of this situation on Sunday.”
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
“Markus (Winkelhock) did a pretty good job. It’s a shame he didn’t improve even more. On the last lap he was already three tenths better than before when he caught Prémat who was heading for the pits. That’s too bad because we could have done better. But with so many used cars from Audi at the front of the field you can’t complain. I’m happy for Markus that it worked out. It was time for him to move forward some more. Katherine (Legge) is in first place of the ladies’ classification. It was close, even though she wasn’t able to catch up with Coulthard anymore. I’m not unhappy.”